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Paris Hotel Help for 85 year old Dad

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Jun 28th, 2012, 09:01 PM
  #1
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Paris Hotel Help for 85 year old Dad

I'm trying to help my 85 year old Dad find a centrally located (near the Seine/Louvre/Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc) comfortable, but not extravagant hotel in Paris for 7 nights this October. He has visited Paris several times with tours, but wants to do an independent trip. He doesn't use a computer, so I volunteered to help. He would prefer airport transfer for arrival & departure & breakfast each morning, easy access to bus or metro. Elevator, if needed, is mandatory. It would be very helpful if the front office staff spoke a bit of English to help out with directions and advice. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Jun 28th, 2012, 11:05 PM
  #2
 
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Just two quick comments/questions:

1) What is his actual budget? "not extravagant" could mean anything.

2) "He would prefer airport transfer for arrival & departure"

Provided by the hotel? That doesn't usually happen . . . Some hotels will arrange transport for guests, but at very high cost. He can book his own shuttle (or you can do it for him) - or even easier, just catch a cab from the airport.
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Jun 28th, 2012, 11:36 PM
  #3
 
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First I commend your Dad's adventurous spirit at that age.
In the area you mentioned, I have never stayed in Hotel in Paris with guest rooms on the ground floor. So I think an elevator is mandatory. Even at 2-star hotels, the day front desk also spoke good English. The evening staffs were different matter. While buses don't require walking thru long metro tunnels, the routes are much harder to figure out on your own (which bus number to take, where are the stops) as well as when to get off. I always ask hotel all possible buses I can take. However, I always know alternate way to travel by metro. In addition, how to pay for transit perplexes even the younger visitors: carnet vs. Navigo and how to buy them without Chip and Pin enabled credit card, etc.
Breakfasts, if available, are not included or need to buy an offer that includes it. But this Paris, you can find a cafe near pretty much anywhere in the center even if the hotel does not offer one.
Airport transfers are mentioned quite often in this forum. I personally don't use them. Even if he uses one, you should always have him ready to take a taxi such as getting Euro, how much it should cost to the hotel, and how to avoid rogue taxis operating outside official taxi ranks in case of transfer driver no show.

In the area you have NOT mentioned, he needs a reliable way to get Euro cash from ATM machines. He also needs credit cards enabled to be used overseas. He needs to carry passport securely in transit and use the room safe / front desk safe to store critical items that does not need to carried with him in town during his stay. I use a money belt to deal with pickpockets, but if he is not familiar with it, it might add complexity in securing cash, credit card, and passports.He probably needs a low cost way to call you. Not having a computer is a handicap in not being able use a free VOIP over internet. Does he use a smartphone with Wifi which can run VOIP? Otherwise, he needs an international calling card purchased in Paris.
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Jun 29th, 2012, 05:51 AM
  #4
ira
 
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Hi JG,

In Paris, we always stay at the Hotel Bonaparte, 61 Rue Bonaparte in the 6th. Singles from 104E + bkfstt. It is just around the corner from Place St. Sulpice, near 3 metro stops and 4 bus routes. Has AC and an elevator.

They will serve bkfst (croissant, roll, coffee tea or chocolate, jams, butter, juice) in your room or downstairs.

The staff speaks English well, and is very helpful. The front desk is staffed 24/7

They can arrange a shuttle pickup to/from CDG for you.

Tel 33 1 43 26 97 37
FAX 33 1 46 33 57 67
[email protected]
www.hotelbonaparte.fr

For more info, enter "Hotel Bonaparte" in the "search the forum" box.

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Jun 29th, 2012, 06:01 AM
  #5
ira
 
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Useful input from Greg,

>he needs a reliable way to get Euro cash from ATM machines.

I think that an ATM only card is much safer than a debit/ATM card. In addition, the Bonaparte has always changed 100E, or so, for me at the bank rate.

Dad will never be far from an ATM. He should be sure to use only those machines that are attached to a bank. The stand-alone ones charge fairly high fees.

>He also needs credit cards enabled to be used overseas.

CapitalOne and https://www.acuonline.org/ don;t charge foreign transaction fees.

>He needs to carry passport securely in transit and use the room safe / front desk safe to store critical items that does not need to carried with him in town during his stay.
,,,,,,,, he needs an international calling card purchased in Paris.


Good advice
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Jun 29th, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #6
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Thank you all for this great information. In tryng to keep my question short,I didn't mention that he'll be travelling with my 60 year old brother, though I do think my Dad is the more adventurous and curious of the two! As for budget, being frugal is in my Dad's DNA, but I'm trying to make the point that a few extra Euro buys ease and comfort. So, a budget of $200-$250 per night would be a good start. From his past trips he uses a money belt and I'll see if my brother's phone is able to make int'l calls. Also, I'll mention that I have done some searches and used filters, but posted this question in hopes of getting some Fodorite personal recommendations because I always learn so much from this forum and the many helpful people who contribute to it. Thank you for this info...any additional advice or recommendations are greatly appreciated.
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Jun 29th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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I second those points about cards:

We always use our Capital One credit card with no foreign transaction fee. Had to call Cap One and specifically ask for it, since it's not one of their most-advertised cards. My understanding is that credit cards give the best conversion rates.

For an ATM card, we use one from our credit union.

More advice:

-- Remember to bring at least one each backup credit and ATM card, in case there is a problem with a card.

-- Remember to notify the card issuer of your trip before you go -- and find out the maximum daily withdrawal amounts for your ATM card, which, sometimes, you can have increased if you feel you need it.

-- Remember to write down the card numbers and overseas telephone contact numbers for your cards in case they are lost/stolen.

SS
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Jun 30th, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #8
ira
 
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Hi JG,

>he'll be travelling with my 60 year old brother,<

The Bonaparte has twin-bedded rooms.

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Jun 30th, 2012, 07:03 AM
  #9
 
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I would suggest the Muguet. It is very near a LOT of metros and bus lines. There are many restaurants near, supermarkets,, cafes.
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Jun 30th, 2012, 07:53 AM
  #10
 
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To get to and from the airport take a taxi. No prepayment and no shortage of taxis. Have them follow the signs at CDG and ignore any offers of a ride they might get before the official taxi line.

It will cost 50-55 euros. Have the name and address written on a piece of paper for the driver id their French skills are limited.
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Jun 30th, 2012, 08:04 AM
  #11
 
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the hotel where we stayed in the 1st would also be suitable - http://www.hotel-britannique.fr/

very comfortable, nice english-speaking staff, extremely central with several restaurants within a few minutes walk, a small bar downstairs, and very close to the seine, Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, and the metro.
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Jun 30th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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If you are looking for larger hotel the Westin at Place de la Concorde is very nice and well located. The Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental is also very nice and located right by Opera Garnier- staff speaks English and there are plenty of elevators. We stayed there a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Bravo to your Dad who is clearly young at heart. I hope his trip is terrific.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 11:07 PM
  #13
 
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ank-thread.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ank-thread.cfm

Jump to the bottom of the thread and then scroll up to Dec 31,2010. In that section, I have categorized the recommended hotels, by district, and have provided websites.

Happy Travels!
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 07:48 AM
  #14
 
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I'd urge you to look at bus accessibility. It is so much more interesting, you aren't looking for escalators or long correspondances, and it may get you MUCH closer to your destination. The Metro is not the only transport in Paris!!
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Jul 4th, 2012, 12:44 PM
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He's very interested in the bus, but I've been a little apprehensive because people say it is so confusing. The Metro stations can be difficult and you miss all the above ground scenery. Do you have some tips or advice on how to help him use the bus instead of Metro? I've been suggesting taxi's too, but the frugalness gets in the way of that.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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There is an excellent bus guide whose name escapes right now. It is good because it shows where on the street--on both sides of the street, depending on the direction you are going--the location of the bus stop.
Maybe Michael Middleditch guide? It is also a Metro guide, with good overlays.
It is quite amazing where you can get to on even one bus ride--we rode all the way to Porte Vanves from in front of our hotel!!
There is even a "sightseeing tour" of Paris, riding the bus. I think someone posted a version of it just recently.
I hope someone will supply the bus book name--and I'll take a look to see also.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 02:18 PM
  #18
 
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I'd have thought that a trip to Paris at 85 would cause a revision of the aforementioned frugality - the odd cab won't break the bank but it might add mightily to the success of the trip.

BTW we got a cab after 11pm from the Gare St Lazare to Boulevard St. Michel and it cost about €12. they don't need to cost a fortune.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 02:38 PM
  #19
 
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Ira,

When was the last time you stayed at the Bonaparte? I thought it was very shabby with many dark and dreary rooms including the public areas. Location is good, but I would not stay again.

I found Le Clément, in the same area, much better value for money.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 03:26 PM
  #20
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Thanks for the link to the Paris Mapguide. I'm ordering one today. I think he'll enjoy planning routes to the places he wants to visit. An update on the hotel search, I sent him a chart with the following hotels listed: Duquesnes Eiffel, Hotel Gramont, Hotel Britannique, Relais Bosquet for some initial feedback and haven't heard back yet. All have elevators, and offer breakfast, as near as I can tell. When I looked at the Bonaparte, it did look a little worn out, even in the "professional" photos.
And, yes, I am thinking that when you decide you want to go to one of the most wonderful and expensive cities in Europe, you might adjust your thinking about the cost of things, but he still talks about the $8 beer he had in Monmarte several years ago! But, he's ready to go back, so it can't be too painful for him!
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